foiled again

When I finished my Korea book, I planned to market it to publishers using this very important selling point: There are no armchair travel books about Korea.
Unfortunately, that’s a statement I can no longer make.
Simon Winchester has rereleased his 1988 book Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles. So now, not only is there an armchair travel book out there about Korea, but it’s written by one of the best nonfiction writers out there.
If my attempts to be the first writer of an armchair travel book about Korea have been foiled, at least I can do is read the competition. So I bought the book. I haven’t started it yet, and I have a lot of emotion about the thing. I even admit to being jealous. And now that I own it, I know that if I read it and think it’s good, I will want to finish my own book even less. I am sure that it is going to frustrate me more than I am already frustrated by writing my book. (As you may have guessed, I am experiencing another day of writer’s block on that particular topic.)
Here’s a story that adds insult to injury. I had asked my good friend Amelia if she had kept any of the letters I wrote her while in Korea, and it turned out that she had. I am finding my own letters to be a valuable resource in writing this thing. She vowed to send them to me, but wanted to be sure I would give them back. Well, yesterday, I pulled a large envelope out of my mailbox and got all excited about the prospect of reading the letters. The envelope felt awfully light, which made me suspicious, particularly since there were about 10 stamps on it. It turns out the envelope was empty. The letters that were inside…gone.
My continued difficulties writing and researching this book, and the existence of Winchester’s book have me thinking about writing a collection of travel essays again, rather than a single book on Korea.

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